This Is How To Turn A Sauce Into A Glaze

There's something about the word "glaze" that just sounds so much more luxurious than "sauce." Glazes are shiny, thick, luscious additions to both savory and sweet dishes — and turns out, they're pretty much the same thing as sauce, just with different amounts of water and sugar (via Martha & Marley Spoon). The basics of making a glaze are simple, but to perfect the technique we have a few tips that will take you a long way.

A classic balsamic glaze, sweet soy-based one, or Caribbean variety, can be delicious on everything from grilled meat and smoky barbecue to salads and fancy pizzasLivestrong states you can convert most sauces or drippings into a yummy glaze — think the leftover drippings from a roast chicken, or even a teriyaki marinade you soaked some tofu in (via The Spruce Eats). According to Livestrong, you can turn any sauce or liquid into a glaze by carefully boiling it to reduce the water content, leaving it thicker as the water evaporates; but (as Olive Nation asserts) this is technically just a reduction — a thicker sauce with concentrated flavors. There's some variation of opinion, but the most outlets note the addition of at least some component of sweetness in glazes to help achieve that beautiful sheen — whether it's honey, preserves, or just plain old sugar (via Sucralose).

How to make the best glazes

There's no one way to make a glaze, but many start with liquid (whether it's stock or another sauce) and use a natural or added sweetener, which are simmered together to reduce and thicken. Glazes can easily burn, so some, like Bon Appetit and Cooktop Cove, recommend brushing them on in the last moments of cooking.

For example, if you marinated meat or veggies (and took extra care with the liquid that has touched raw meat) The Spruce Eats states you can put the excess liquid in a pan; maybe add a sweetener, a little acid, or some stock if there's not a lot of liquid left; and bring it to a full simmer to thicken. Make sure to boil your marinade for at least a minute to kill any bacteria leftover from the raw food (via USDA). Livestrong says to keep stirring while the water evaporates, remove it from the stove when it reaches the consistency you like, and drizzle away. Another hot tip: add a little bit of alcohol, whether it's wine or vodka depending on the flavors you're going for, to help the water evaporate faster. Voila! Sauce to glaze!